DEA kills suspected trafficker in Honduras

2012-06-25 13:00
AP

AP

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Tegucigalpa - A US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent has shot and killed a suspected drug trafficker during a raid in a remote northern area of Honduras known as a landing spot for illicit flights carrying cocaine from South America, US officials said on Sunday.

It is the first time a DEA agent has killed someone during an operation since the agency began deploying specially trained agents several years ago to accompany local law enforcement personnel on drug raids in Latin America, said DEA spokesperson Dawn Dearden.

Saturday's raid was the fourth operation in two months in a stepped-up US-Honduran effort to fight drug trafficking in the sparsely populated Mosquitia region, where flights from Venezuela land on dirt airstrips and locals are paid to transport the illegal cargo to boats headed to the Caribbean.

A similar raid on 11 May killed four people, whom locals claimed were innocent civilians travelling the river at night. Honduran police said the victims were in a boat that fired on authorities. The DEA said none of its agents fired their guns in that incident.

This weekend's operation occurred around 00:30, local time, when a US agent and Honduran National Police arrested four suspects and seized 360kg of cocaine, said US Embassy spokesperson Stephen Posivak in Tegucigalpa.

He said six other people were arrested later on suspicion of aiding the smuggling operation.

Positive cooperation


Posivak said several people were unloading cocaine from an airplane at a remote landing strip when the law enforcement agents swooped in on helicopters.

He said the US agent opened fire after the suspect reached for a gun in a holster, and the suspect died at the scene. Three of the men arrested were part of the ground crew, Posivak said, and the fourth was piloting the small aircraft with cocaine. He said their nationalities are not yet clear.

Posivak confirmed that the law enforcement agents were working in State Department helicopters. Posivak stressed that their arrests and seizures reflect "a great example of positive US-Honduran cooperation".

The incident took place about 20km away from Ahuas, the site of the 11 May shooting, in the area of Brus Laguna, according to Ahuas mayor Lucio Baquedano. No one from the town was involved, Baquedano said, adding that at least 11 clandestine airstrips sit between Ahuas and Brus Laguna.

Ministry of Security spokesperson Ivan Mejia said on Sunday that that the Honduran government has sent police, a judge, a prosecutor and medical examiners to the scene to investigate. DEA investigators are assisting, Posivak said.

DEA agents in Honduras are bound by Justice Department rules of engagement, which only allow them to fire weapons if their or someone else's life is in danger. Posivak said that appeared to be the case on Saturday.

22 metric tons of cocaine

"During the operation, a fifth suspect attempted to engage the police team with a firearm and was shot by a DEA agent in self-defence," he said. "The suspect subsequently died at the scene. There were no other injuries or fatalities."

The State Department says 79% of all cocaine smuggling flights leaving South America first land in Honduras.

Last year, with help from the US, the Honduran government stopped more than 22 metric tons of cocaine in Honduras and adjacent waters, nearly four times more than 2010, the State Department has said.

The stepped-up operations have been criticised by Honduran human rights groups, US activists and some on Capitol Hill.

American University anthropology professor Adrienne Pine, who studies Honduras, sent a letter signed by 40 Honduran scholars and former government officials, and supported by 300 academics in 29 countries, to President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton earlier this month, demanding the US cease support for the Honduran military and police.

"It's really troubling," she said on Sunday. "It's absolutely not appropriate for US law enforcement to be killing other people in other countries."

Other seizures occurred earlier in May in the Mosquitia region and on 13 June in Olancho state, where a joint US-Honduran operation pursued an aircraft and later found it crashed with both pilots dead. Agents seized 41kg of cocaine from the scene.

- AP

Read more on:    hillary clinton  |  barack obama  |  honduras  |  us  |  narcotics
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

The rich will pay - Mpofu

The EFF in Gauteng will focus all its energy on improving the lives of the poor, the party's premier candidate Dali Mpofu says.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Watch what happened when we blindfolded Helen Zille and asked her to eat random things
13 days to elections - news you need to know
11 Julius Malema quotes you'll never forget
DA won't get 30% - Zille
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Tuesday Century City - 05:58 AM
    Road name: Ratanga Road Southbound
    ROADWORKS - lane closure between Ocean Spirit Avenue and Century Boulevard (until mid April)
  • Tuesday Mitchells Plain - 05:58 AM
    Road name: Spine Road
    ROAD CLOSED between Weltevreden Drive and Seafarer Drive due to roadworks (until mid April)
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Mother’s Day special offers!

Spoil mom with these awesome specials that will warm her heart. Shop now!

Twisp – the smoking alternative

Buy any 2 refills for R250 and save R149. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Mother’s Day specials on appliances

Browse our range of Mother’s Day appliances to spoil and pamper mom. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Curve 9360

The BlackBerry Curve 9360 smartphone comes preloaded with Blackberry OS7...

From R1595.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be more sensitive today and can be influenced easily by the energies around you. Try not to be swayed too much by the...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.